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Americans skeptical on use of force: poll

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Almost two thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration has undermined national security by relying on force too much, a new U.S. poll says.

Some 63 percent of Americans now "believe that countries around the world have grown more afraid that the United States will use force against them and the same number thinks this is bad for U.S. security," WorldPublicOpinion.org said in a statement accompanying the release of its new poll on U.S. attitudes Thursday.

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Four out of five Americans, or 80 percent, now believe that of their country has boosted "the likelihood that countries will try to acquire weapons of mass destruction," according to the results of the poll.

WorldPublicOpinion.org said that the poll "included interviews with a nationwide sample of 1,326 Americans conducted Nov. 21-29. It was developed in conjunction with the conference, 'Leveraging U.S. Strength in an Uncertain World," to be held by the Stanley Foundation" Dec. 7 in Washington. "The poll was designed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland and fielded by Knowledge Networks," WorldPublicOpinion.org said.

Some 61 percent of Americans now think the invasion of Iraq "has increased the likelihood that Iran will build weapons of mass destruction," WorldPublicOpinion.org said. "This is a sharp shift from 2003 when only 24 percent believed that the invasion increased the likelihood of Iran acquiring WMD while 68 percent thought it decreased that possibility," said

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Steven Kull, editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org, said, "Most Americans now believe that the recent thrust of U.S. foreign policy has backfired: as the U.S. has provoked greater fear of U.S. military force, countries have reacted in ways that have reduced U.S. security."

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